So check, check, check it out...
I went to IFS for Jummah today, I had been meaning to do this a long time ago, but never had the opportunity until today. You see, IFS and I go back a ways, but not as far back as MCC and MEC and I go. Oh, if only they knew...
Anyway, I have to say, I was expecting a nonsensical khutbah of similar quality to those of MCC, but... God is good and He gave me a break and let me listen to something actually worth listening to.
During the second year of the Hijrah (migration), during the months of Rajab and Sha'ban, the Prophet (S) set the direction of the prayer. He was longing to face in that direction when he stood for prayer. He was commanded to, "Turn your direction to the masjid al haram, wherever you are turn your face there when you pray."
It's a very important condition the Qur'an lays down on us for whenever we pray. The Qur'an is a small book, there are not a lot of rules or regulations within it. Scholars say there are no more than 200-300 verses that discuss what we should or should not do.
It doesn't even include how to pray or when to pray, but it does tell you which way to face and that you must wash yourself before prayer, describing all the body parts that need to be washed.
Everything that Allah teaches us has a deeper meaning to it.
"...Allahumaj'alni minal muttatahirin."
"Make me among those who repent and those who purify themselves."
Islam lays great emphasis on correcting the inner being, on purifying it.
You must have an internal direction in your life just like you have a direction for prayer. Everything you do in life must be directed towards some purpose or meaning. Otherwise everything you do becomes meaningless.
If you lose that sense of direction, Allah says you become worse than animals since you have been given the capacity to nurture meaning and direction and animals have not been given that.
Imam Bukhari started his compilation of hadith with the following hadith.
"For every action there must be a reason behind it. The result of every action will be based on that intention."
"You must know why you do what you do."
When you reflect what have you achieved, what difference have you made in your own life and the lives of those around you, you see you always come up short. You lose track of time, which makes you lose your sense of purpose. Having a qiblah, a sense of direction is the only way we can protect ourselves.
We look for formulas for overcoming our problems but nothing protects you better than having a goal and running to it.
When the command to change the qiblah came people ridiculed the Prophet (S). People would ask the Prophet if God had moved or if no longer was in Jerusalem but was now in Mecca. The Qur'an responded saying that God is everywhere, closer than your jugular vein, the new qiblah is the symbolism of having a purpose and meaning in life. A direction.
That is what the qiblah is all about. It has created you to be a people of the middle way. Not tilting to this side or that side but following the center. That is what defines the ummah, it brings us all to the center, not taking us to extremes. God says, "Do not follow the person whose heart has been made devoid of our remembrance."
It is to those who find the balance and not tilt the balance. Extremes of spirituality or materialism are not what we should be doing.
Making wudu over and over can be an imbalanced position, thinking that since God likes purity that we should constantly be washing.
Islam teaches balance, to bring humanity to this position of leadership, a position of leadership requires you know your direction. It's not an easy oath to take to take a balanced position, not going to extremes but remaining in a balanced position.
I won't say much since the khatib did the topic justice, but here are my two cents on balance:
Moderation is key, as far as being a decent Muslim and human being is concerned. Our Prophet (S) always stressed the middle way, never taking up either extremes. It is important to note that what is moderate for me may be an extreme for you, and what is extreme for me may be moderate for you. These variances in perspective and understanding should also be considered. Of course, the only time most people will need to consider such a point is when we are attempting to judge another individual, well, I am of the opinion that it's not really our place, however, I make special concessions for those that openly judge people and often very cruelly and unfairly. This is a good time to make myself clear. As far as Salafis are concerned, please know that I am not attacking individuals or people in general, I am attacking the Salafi ideology. Look at what it does to people, it really brings the most terrible qualities out of them and deludes them into thinking they are doing something good and worthy of our Lord's pleasure. So, are we clear? Good, if not, please send me a note, I have a contact form for that express purpose, I want to be objective and fair in my critiques and everyone that reads these can help me achieve that end.
Oh... before I let you go, I have completed the khutbah critique, but let's do a little community critique, shall we?
Immediately after the congregational prayer ended, this mid-30s Desi man stood up, he was standing in the middle of the crowd so it was clear he was not with IFS or the administration, just some dude, and he said the following words verbatim:
Then... as I am reflecting on what just happened inside the mosque while making my way to my car, I hear right behind me, "Hey bro, can I ask you something?" My instant reaction was, "Dang it! They figured it out!"
But when I saw the Nigerian IFS security guard approach the Desi kid's car I realized he wasn't addressing me. But since I was genuinely surprised it took me a minute to get my locomotion back so I heard the entire conversation, they were yelling so I didn't have to try to hear what was going on, below is some comedy for you:
Desi Kid: Hey bro, are you a real Muslim or just Muslim by name?
Nigerian Security Guard: I'm Muslim.
Desi Kid: Then why didn't you let me park so I can pray?
Nigerian Security Guard: The lot was full.
Desi Kid: You gonna pray for me?
Nigerian Security Guard: You need to move your car.
Desi Kid: You're pathetic bro!
Nigerian Security Guard: Move your car or I will arrest you!
Desi Kid: Arrest me for what?!
*Kid stops the car and traffic.*
Nigerian Security Guard: Move your car now!
That was cray.
I was laughing, it was quite funny. That kid was totally in the wrong. Man, is that all it takes now? All it takes nowadays, apparently, is to rightfully disallow anyone from parking in the mosque parking lot when it's full to have your entire faith brought into question. Haha, wow... Now that my friends is petty. I understand that kid was upset he missed the prayer, but it's not difficult to plan accordingly and make it to the mosque early. Getting to the mosque on time for prayer makes no sense, you have to get there early. Then the kid proceeded to stop traffic and antagonize the security guard, the security guard did a decent job controlling his anger, but he started yelling back at one point and threatened to arrest the upset child when he clearly does not have such authority.
Anyway... Let this be a lesson to all of you, the only person who is at fault for missing their prayers is yourself, so don't blame others. Unless of course they physically restrain you and keep you from praying, then sure, complain away.
Have a good Friday and a great weekend everyone!